Romblon is a province situated at the center of the Philippine archipelago. Blessed with natural resources, it is known for its huge marble deposits. The "Marble Capital of the Philippines" is also known for its islands, lined with beaches that boast gorgeous views over crystal clear waters and powdery white sand. Other natural wonders like lakes, waterfalls, caves, and its peaceful residents all make Romblon an enchanting place to visit.
Romblon itself is composed of islands, making it the perfect destination for beachgoers. Cobrador Island is slowly gaining fame for its magnificent white sand and clean blue waters. On the other side of the province is Carabao Island, only an hour away from Boracay. Like the world-famous party island, Carabao Island has dazzling white sand and crystal clear water, but the atmosphere is quieter and much more serene. The beaches of Romblon provide plenty of swimming and other fun activities like diving and snorkeling without the hassle of sharing the islands with a huge and rowdy crowd.
Romblon is also the destination for mountaineers looking for a huge challenge. Mount Guiting-Guiting, located in Sibuyan Island, has steep and sharp rocky ridges, making it one of the most challenging mountains to climb in the Philippines. But even non-mountaineers can enjoy Sibuyan as the island itself is a natural paradise.
Visitors to Romblon should also find time to check out what the province is known for—high quality marble. Home to some of the most talented and artistic craftsmen in the country, Romblon produces beautiful marble products like tiles, statues, and home accessories.
Philippine Airlines flies three times weekly to Tugdan Airport, located in Tablas Island in Romblon. From Manila, air travel only takes about 65 minutes.
Traveling by sea to Romblon is also possible. From Manila make your way to Batangas Pier in Batangas City. Shipping companies like 2GO Travel have trips to Romblon Island or Odiongan. Travel time is from seven to eight hours.
Another option is to sail from Caticlan in the province of Aklan to Odiongan, which only takes about two hours.
How to Get Around
Jeep is available in Romblon when traveling from one town to the other but they can be pretty hard to catch.
The habal-habal is quickest and most convenient way when getting around Romblon.
What to See
Built within the town of Romblon, the provincial capital, are the ruins of Fort San Andres, a 17th century Spanish fortification. This crumbling structure once served as the command center of the Spanish soldiers and helped in warding off invading Muslim pirates. The fort has undergone renovations recently in order to better accommodate its visitors. In addition, a sweeping view of the entire town and of the Romblon Port awaits as you climb up the watchtower.
The Saint Joseph Cathedral in the heart of Romblon town was built by the Recollect Fathers in the 15th century and is considered as the oldest church in the province. The cathedral’s structure is impressive—built using local materials such as bricks and corals. Its interiors are just as stunning, boasting stained glass windows, a Byzantine altar that houses the centuries-old Santo Niño de Cebu, and various religious paintings that adorn the walls. The belfry is also noteworthy, with the original copper bell that was installed during the construction of the cathedral between 1640 and 1726.
Another church that withstood the test of time is Saint Nicholas of Tolentino Parish Church. Located in the town of Banton, it is also popularly called Banton Church. Its construction began in 1644 and was completed six to seven years later. The church also forms part of the Fort of San Jose, which, similar to Fort San Andres, was built to defend against Muslim pirates and other foreign invaders.
The archipelagic province of Romblom is composed of three islands: the small but main Romblon Island, Tablas Island, and Sibuyan Island. Each has its own natural attraction that will surely take your mind away from the strenuous and fast-paced lifestyle back in the metro.
Though small, Romblon Island is home to about five beaches where you will surely enjoy working your tan or frolicking in its fine sands. Bonbon Beach is perhaps the island’s most prominent beach attraction. It is easily accessible, only five kilometers away from downtown Romblon. The beach is also not that commercialzed, so you are free to enjoy it in its pure and unadulterated form.
Separated only by huge rock formations, Margie’s Beach is located right next door to Bonbon beach. Similarly, Margie’s Beach has barely been touched so you can feast your eyes on the shores at its purest form.
Talipasak Beach, also known as the San Pedro Beach Resort, is part of a private property located about 30 minutes away from downtown. While there, you can treat yourself to your own tropical paradise courtesy of the beach’s fine white sands and clear blue waters. Another area to check out for its pristine shores is Tiamban Beach.
For a bit of seclusion, you can visit Cobrador Island, about an hour’s ride away from Romblon by banca. Also known as Nogoso Island, it also features glorious sand and crystal clear waters that give Boracay a run for its money.
Tablas Island is the biggest of all three islands that make up the province of Romblon. It is also the main gateway to the province and a highly recommended destination to see some of the province’s natural wonders.
Tablas Island has three waterfalls: Mainit, Dubduban-Bita, and Mablaran. As its name suggests, the water that flows at Mainit Falls is warm and ideal for a therapeutic swim. Dubduban-Bita, on the other hand, is known for its seven-tiered falls that stand 70 feet. Mablaran Falls is also a sight to behold, with clear blue-green waters and surrounded by a tranquil forest.
Tablas Island is also a tropical paradise in itself because of its seven idyllic beaches. One of the most notable is Sapatos Beach in Mabini, which is known for its rock formation shaped like a horseshoe and fine white sands.
In the midst of Looc Bay is a floating kiosk known as the Looc Bay Marine Refuge and Sanctuary. The sanctuary has a 48-hectare coral reef that is preserved by the government. Snorkeling and diving allow visitors to feast their eyes on its impressive marine life.
Meanwhile, Sibuyan Island is known for its highlands. Mount Guiting-Guiting is its most prominent feature, towering at 2,058 meters above sea level. Conquering the mountain is quite a challenge even for professionals as it happens to be one of the most difficult mountains in the country to climb.
Romblon has two dive centers—Ducks Diving and Cabanban Dive Resort—that offer diving to explore a World War II Japanese wreck off the northern coast of the island and the only known blue hole in the Philippines. Blue holes are large marine caverns that extend below sea level. One of them is found off the coast of Barangay Cawayan in Tablas Island, about an hour’s boat ride away.
Events and Festivals
Biniray Festival is the most anticipated event in Romblon. It is held every second week of January to honor Santo Niño de Cebu. The festivities include a grand Mardi Gras and the fluvial parade bearing the image of the Santo Niño, which is also the highlight of the event.
Where to Eat
When in Sibuyan, you shouldn’t miss out on the pizza and the burger served at Duane’s Store & Burger House. The Tapsihan Restaurant of Bagumbayan Beach House also serves pocket-friendly meals on the island.
Romblon Deli & Coffee Shop is also another favorite dining spot, especially for expats. They serve delectable burgers, sandwiches, and pancakes. For some al fresco dining, check out Republika Bar & Restaurant and their specialties like pizzas and fish and chips.
Carnivores will have their cravings satisfied at Mouse’s Morsels on Tablas Island. They serve imported meats which you can also pair with their fine selection of wines. Meanwhile, Ghetto’s Plates is well-known for their selection of pizzas, especially their Extravaganza pizza.
For breakfast, head over to Pearl’s Café for their selection of Filipino breakfast meals. You can also perk yourself up with their freshly brewed coffee.
Where to Shop
What to Buy
Romblon is the proud “Marble Capital of the Philippines.” It has huge deposits of marble that local artisans turn into beautiful creations like statues, tiles, furniture, and many more.
Romblon has no huge shopping malls, but you can head to the town plaza to see some stalls and shops that sell pasalubong items and the province’s quality marble products.
Fare: PHP 7,500.00++
Roundtrip airfares from Manila to Tugdan can be quite costly at PHP 7,500.00. If you’re traveling by sea, fares range from PHP 1,100.00 to PHP 1,600.00 for a one-way trip.
When going around the island, the base fare for a jeep ride is PHP 7.00. On the other hand, motorcycle taxis cost about PHP 120.00 for a 35-minute ride. Take note that fares double at night.
Food: PHP 100.00 to PHP 350.00
Meals in Romblon are delicious but affordable: a typical Filipino breakfast at Pearl’s Café costs around PHP 50.00 to PHP 100.00 only. In most restaurants, a budget of PHP 150.00 to PHP 200.00 per meal should be more than enough.
Shopping: PHP 20.00 to PHP 300.00
A marble key chain is roughly around PHP 20.00 to PHP 30.00 per piece, and you can have it engraved for a fee. You can also buy a marble mortar and pestle for about PHP 50.00 to 60.00. Souvenir shirts are also available at PHP 200.00.
Accommodation: PHP 800.00 to PHP 3,000.00
Simple accommodations for budget travelers are available for as low as PHP 800.00 a night. The more upscale hotels offer rooms at PHP 3,000.00 for an overnight stay.
Activities: PHP 600.00 to PHP 4,000.00
For those keen to go diving, the rates range from PHP 1,400.00 to PHP 4,000.00, depending on the diving course. At Looc Bay Marine Refuge & Sanctuary, admission fee is PHP 100.00. If you want to go snorkeling, the fee is PHP 300.00, excluding gear rental.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00
When dining in restaurants, a service charge is almost always included, so tipping is already not required. But if you insist, a PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 tip should be just fine.
||ETA in Tablas Island
||Have late lunch at Ghetto Plates.
||Visit the Looc Bay Marine Refuge & Sanctuary.
||Head back to the shore and have dinner at Mouse’s Morsels. Retire for the night afterwards.
||Have breakfast at the hotel or at Pearl’s Café.
||Depart Tablas Island for Romblon.
||ETA in Romblon
||Explore Fort San Andres and the Saint Joseph Cathedral.
||Have pizza and pasta for lunch at JD&G Italian Food.
||Ride a trike to Bon Bon Beach. Enjoy the shores and try to wait for the sunset.
||Have dinner at Republika Bar & Restaurant. Have a few drinks as well.
||Retire for the night.
||Have breakfast at the hotel or Romblon Deli & Coffee Shop.
||Depart Romblon town.
||Roam around the town of Alcantara for some quick souvenir shopping.
||Check in at Tugdan Airport.
||Depart for Manila.
||ETA in Manila
The average temperature in the province is around 27 degrees Celsius. The wet season runs from June to November, while the rest of the year is dry. Take note of the weather when traveling to Romblon so you can make sure to make the most out of your staye. Pack light clothing as well as a jacket or scarf especially when it becomes cold at night.
There are a number of hospitals available in the province in case you need medical attention. The Romblon Provincial Hospital is located in Odiongan, while the Romblon District Hospital is in downtown Romblon.
There are drug stores and pharmacies available in the province, but make sure to bring your own medicine, especially if you have certain medical conditions.
Romblon is a safe place to visit, and the Romblomanon people are warm and hospitable. However, practicing vigilance is still recommended, especially if you’re traveling alone. Always keep an eye on your valuables when visiting public and crowded places.